The Philadelphia Police Department has issued an internal memo detailing changes to the way officers handle “quality of life crimes,” such as public urination or prostitution, under a new pilot program.
The changes come in response to a 2010 lawsuit, Bailey v. City of Philadelphia, in which eight Black Philadelphia residents sued the city over allegations of discrimination during stop-and-frisk encounters.
The city reached a settlement in 2011 and agreed to train officers to enter relevant information into a database after each stop and search, as Fox 29 Philadelphia first reported.
“As part of this agreement, the city’s statistical expert has reviewed the PPD’s stops each year to identify any racial disparity. In 2020, our expert found that racial disparity does exist in certain types of stops,” the Philadelphia Police Department told Fox News in a statement.
Scoop: New @PhillyPolice internal memo “Modifying quality of life crimes enforcement. Our own expert has determined that racial disparity does exist in certain types of car & pedestrian stops.” List below of “Quality of life offenses” to get new treatment 1/6 @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/8IWKqjZDsF
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) July 29, 2021
The city’s expert “believes that the root cause of the racial disparity identified may, in part, result from the manner in which the PPD enforces certain quality-of-life-type offenses.”
“As such, the Philadelphia Police Department is committed to exploring or piloting different programs that can improve the service we provide to the community and also reduce racial disparity, bias or even the appearance thereof,” the Philly PD said.
The memo obtained by Fox 29 states that Philadelphia PD officers will no longer immediately issue citations to or arrest individuals engaging in quality-of-life crimes. Instead, they will “FIRST engage only in a mere encounter with the individual and request the individual stop engaging in the prohibited behavior. The individual will NOT be detained and are free to leave.” – READ MORE